My Morning Issue

I am seriously, overwhelmed, by the role God has placed me in.

It started with just a pin I found on Pinterest. A pin I discarded because I didn’t think I could really make any impact.

It was to make a sleeping mat for someone who is homeless. Five hundred to seven hundred grocery bags to make one. ONE!

Where would I come up with five to seven hundred bags? To make just one? Really?

Why would I do that?

Who would I really be helping? Sure, ONE person.

I kinda wish I knew the name of that one person, now.

Because I am learning with God’s economy, ONE can multiply into MANY!

Seriously with God, what’s up is down, what’s down is up. One soul is priceless while many good deeds are worthless.

So please don’t say what I do is great. There is only One who is great, and that One is not me. I am only obedient.

Jesus says to do two things, love God and love others. That is all that I am doing. Not only can anyone do that, but everyone should be doing that.

Doing what I am told does not make me great. It makes me faithful.

Faithfulness grows from obedience.

And that one mat has turned into a ministry that is so much bigger than myself. In its year of existence, not I, but my friends and I have made and donated 53 mats. That is more than one mat a week!

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How is that possible? I don’t know! Did I mention it takes five to seven hundred bags FOR ONE? Do you know how long it takes to make just one? It could take awhile, and I promise you, I have not been crocheting a mat a week… for a year!

From the mat ministry, our hat ministry formed.

We donated nearly 400 hats to a shelter in Flagstaff this Thanksgiving, with just a handful of friends and a box full of yarn.

In my garage now, I have enough yarn to make at least another 400, and I didn’t buy any of it!

This is crazy!

Yesterday, I got a call asking if the church we’re donating our mats to, could use the clothes, jackets, food and hygiene products her church has been collecting for a year.

WELL, YEAH!

And now, here I am trying to figure out how I’m gonna fit all our mats in the back of my Expedition with all their stuff?!?

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What a stinkin’ cool problem to have to deal with this morning!

My heart is full and my mind is blown.

What I have learned is loving on one person is enough to grow my faith. I don’t have to feel I need to help many people, just the one God puts in front of me.

The rest will come and my faith will grow.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart  and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

Things We Hope For

I have a secret.

My son, Tunes, is back! He’s actually been back for a couple of weeks.

One happy momma, RIGHT HERE!

Not because I can’t let go. Not because I’m being codependent or enabling. Not because, “I told you so.”

But because I love my son, and God is faithful.

He’s grown up so much. He’s not a little boy anymore.

We’ve got some boundaries set up. Not that they’re any different than before, but they’re there.

He will be treated as a grown man, as long as he continues to act like one. He starts acting stupid, well then he’s out.

He will start paying, continue working, and act responsibly.

So far, he’s been doing a great job. I couldn’t be more prouder of him. Well, except when he eats my Italian turkey sausage that I’ve been saving.

But I’m not even mad, because he’s eating. That’s something he was neglecting to do while he’s been out of the house for the past nine months.

I don’t include Subway, as eating if you only do it twice a day, everyday. He has a hook up. Still, he’s resourceful. He made it work. I’m just glad he’s eating real food again.

Last night was the first night he sat down and had dinner with us.

Oh, how I’ve missed him. And when I say missed him, I don’t just mean him physically being in my home.

No, he’s finally broken through whatever has been holding him back.

He’s growing into the person I knew he could be. The one I’ve been dreaming of. The one I’ve been praying for.

When I see Tunes, now, he’s smiling. He’s talking. He’s sitting down, watching TV or interacting with his siblings. He’s loving on the dog he’s never liked. He’s helping his brother with his homework and he’s playing with his sister.

He’s never done these things before. I don’t know what’s been holding him captive, but he’s finally free of it.

It makes my heart sing.

In all honesty, I know it wasn’t his decision to come back. He really didn’t have another option. His room he was staying in was requested back.

He did try to make other arrangements first. They were put on hold, until the end of the month. We shall see.

But until then, I will marvel at the young man he has turned into.

When he left, two months before he graduated high school, and I poured my heart out to God in prayer, I had no idea the plan he had for my son.

But I trusted he had one. I trusted he loved my son, even more than I did.

I didn’t know it, but I knew it. Does that make sense? It’s, faith. Having it is easy, growing it is… well, scary.

My Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for the opportunities to grow my faith, my faith in you.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

The Step Mom

I often don’t write about Gamer and Smart, for a couple of reasons. They are my step kids. And even though they say you’re not suppose to look at your step children any differently than your own, you do; well I do. It doesn’t mean I love them any less.

Just differently.

I have a hard time figuring out how I play into their lives. They already have a mom and dad who love them to the moon. But I’m not just a friend either, who just wants them to like me.

I’m somewhere in the middle.

Nothing about being a step, is easy.

One of the sweetest presents our friends gave us as a wedding present was a stack of books about blending families.

I was so grateful, because I didn’t know how we were going to do this stuff. Mike is not from a blended family. I am, but that only happened after I was an adult and didn’t have to grow up in it.

Not only did we suddenly realized none of our friends were from a blended family, but none of them had them either!

How the heck were we going to do this?

Can this even be done?

I’ve heard there’s lots of them out there, but do any of them work? Do any of them last?

Before Mike and I married, our kids got along great. They hung out, they played, they got along just fine.

But imagine our shock to the groans and questions of why, once we announced our engagement.

We were completely blindsided. What had happened? What was going on?

There was arguing, and now fighting. Nothing physical, but what the heck? Were they trying to separate us?

It was during this time were a riff had started.

We were told later, by a professional, that in the beginning they saw themselves as just friends, but as things grew more serious, they had become more like siblings. This was actually appropriate and normal behavior.

Who knew?

I tell you what, it sucked for me. Mike wasn’t loving it either.

We honestly, had no idea what we were getting into. Maybe if we were talking about two or three children, things would be different.

Maybe not.

But blending six from the ages of five to thirteen, who we later found out all but one had mental health issue to deal with as well, really just about took us down. (Butterfly, honey, you’re just a girl. There’s no pill for that.)

Oh my gosh, and once we got married, everything tripled! The tattling, the stealing, accusing, “That’s mine!”, “I didn’t do it!”, the laundry, the mess…it was hard on everyone.

It did not look good. It did not feel good.

But I had hope.

Not because my kids are perfect, or Mike’s kids are perfect, or that either one of us are perfect, but the one who we truly try to model our lives after, is.

Jesus, show me this can work. Guide us. Teach us how to honor you with our marriage and with our children.

Shortly after we were married, we started attending a new life group, from our church. As we went around the room and introduced ourselves, we met Ken and Penny; married for over 20 years and have five adult children. They’re grandparents, even!

And after that, through the same group, I met someone who introduced me to someone else who has blended SEVEN!

Since then, even more couples have become our friends, who have blended their own mess.

So I know we’re not alone! This does work! This can be honoring! We will make it!

Now, we’ve only been married for five years. That’s really no test of time, but our kids now get along again. In fact, sometimes feelings get hurt, because now they actually want to stay when it’s their time to go to their other parent’s house.

And where in the past we had to separate and mark what was who’s, they now share rooms.

Oh, and the mischief! I always said if they ever learned how to come together as a team, Mike and I wouldn’t stand a chance. Well, were there.

While, we are FAR from looking like The Brady Bunch, we’re looking much closer to Eight is Enough. Although, they weren’t really a blended family; they just got a new mom.

Which brings me back to Gamer and Smart. They have a mom, so who am I suppose to be? I’m still trying to figure that out.

I’m finding that’s an even slower process.

Immediately after Mike and I got married, Butterfly started calling him daddy. She asked if she could, before the wedding but we always told her she’d have to wait.

Smart called me mom, one time, but then was quickly reminded by his older brother, that he already had a mom and to not call me that.

It took Smart two years before he stopped calling me Miss. Kim and start calling me just Kim.

It’s OK. We’ll get it figured out. Mike is still figuring out where he stands with my boys too.

So, until then, I’ll just keep loving on them as much as they will let me. We’ve got time. And from what God has shown me, I’m not going anywhere.

I’ve seen the fruit of blended families. And it is sweet!

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

One Less Chain that Binds Me

I talked to my amazing Aunt, recently. The day I did, was the day before she was heading to Chicago for exploratory surgery, to confirm whether or not she has lung cancer.

Praise God, she doesn’t!

I’m so in awe of her, because although she’s my aunt, she lives very far away, and although I have many fond memories of her as a child, I’ve never reached out to her as an adult to tap into her loving wisdom, that was always available, but didn’t think I needed, and the day before a possible life changing event was about to occur, she unselfishly gave her time to me.

She loved on me.

This one particular day, she became the aunt I always wished I had. The one I wish I could always be.

I spoke to her about my aging mother because I knew she helped care for her grandmother, before she passed, as well as her own mother.

I called, and asked her for advice about caring for my own. Mind you, mine is not dying, but I struggle with my relationship with her.

“Oh, is she having personality changes?”

“No. I think my mom has always been this way. I’m just tired of the guilt and feeling bitter towards her. My fear is she will die one day, and it won’t be resolved.”

I want to love my mom.

We talked for hours.

She told me things I knew in my heart, but never felt validated until I heard them from her.

Our conversation ended, like all of my conversations about my mom end.

“She’s never going to change.”

“I know”, I told her. But then I heard myself say, “I guess if anyone is going to change, it’s going to have to be me.”

Right now, I can hear in my head, all of my friends and family, who I’ve agonized over this with, are screaming, “That’s what I said!”

I know. I know.

My relationship with my mom always plagues me, because like everything in my life, I try to push it up against what Christ would do.

The verse I beat myself up with is,

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

So how? How do I do this when she hurts me, manipulates me, makes me feel responsible and guilty for her life choices? She insults my children, puts me down, and speaks poorly of me to others.

Moms don’t do this. I know because I am a mom. I’m a mom, who didn’t even want to be a mom, and I still don’t do this.

Acts 16:16-19 tells of an account, where Paul casts a spirit from a slave girl, who although she is speaking truth about them, is still annoying; and who then outrages her owners because she can no longer bring them a profit.

I AM THIS GIRL!

For years I have felt used by my mom. Cried to so many people about it. All who have said the same thing. “She’s not going to change.” Then hear me justify, “But I need to honor her”, all the while, not feeling honoring.

(See, she’s completely me, even with the annoying part.)

I don’t know what my aunt said that made me think of this passage, but it has been completely freeing.

I am no longer her slave to profit from.

She may have burnt all of her bridges and ruined all of her relationships, but that’s not my fault. That doesn’t obligated me to be her only one, trying to hold it together; trying to prevent her from feeling lonely.

That doesn’t make me honoring. That makes me a slave, a victim. I don’t have to live this way. I don’t have to feel this…this contempt.

I have been freed!

Lord,
I thank you for loving me by sending your Son, your Word that reminds me of your truths and my Aunt. (That was just a nice touch.) Amen.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Where’s Santa?

It’s incredible how upset people get when I mention, I don’t celebrate Santa.

In all the years, Mike has been decorating our front yard with snowmen and penguins, and Christmas trees and Snoopys, and Star Wars and gingerbread men, not even once has a child asked us, “Where’s Santa?”

But you better believe, that adults do. Not all, but there are quite a few.

Even after explaining my reasoning I get,

“Oh, so you don’t believe in Santa, but you believe in a great big snowman, instead?”

I want to say, “Don’t be dumb.”

But I don’t. I hold my tongue.

Believing in Christ offends people. Not celebrating Santa, during Christmas, offends people too, I suppose.

Who knew?

But I’m not standing out in my front yard, holding signs and yelling through a blow horn that anyone is going to hell for putting a Santa in their front yard.

I’m not.

I’m not condemning anyone who does.

Regrettably, I have several pictures of my kids sitting on some strange man, wearing a red suit’s, lap.

Each one of my kids received at least one present from me, but addressed from Santa, until they were at least 8 years old.

So Santa celebrating went on for a good sixteen years under my roof.

Most of those years, I was a single mom just trying to make ends meet.

God provided for everyone of those years, and yet I gave credit to Santa.

I’m so ashamed now.

So no, I don’t celebrate Santa.

But I do celebrate Christmas with snowmen and penguins, and Christmas trees and Snoopys, and Star Wars and gingerbread men, because they’re fun, and they’re cute and they don’t promise my kids anything, and they don’t take credit for making them happy or giving them anything.

Not everyone has walked in my shoes. Not everyone has experienced the heartache of a Santa, year after year. Not everyone has gone through what I have.

It’s why my relationship with Jesus is a personal one. Everyone’s is personal. Having a relationship with him is a unique one, unlike anyone elses.

So, I’m not asking anyone to change.

I’m just over here celebrating Christmas the way I do. With inflatables and lights, and presents and music, with neighbors and strangers, and with kids and sometimes with those offended adults.

And if I’m lucky, I get to share my relationship with Christ, with someone who asks,

“Where’s Santa?”

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One Curious Encounter

I started crocheting homeless mats while I’m waiting for assignments to start, again. I’d like to be able to donate another 22 mats to Church on the Street again this year, for Christmas. With help from my friends I’m confident we’ll be able to.

Today, as I was waiting for my first job to start, my client’s husband noticed what I was working on. He asked me why I would make a mat for anyone who was homeless.

I told him about my son and his mental illness, then told him God calls us to love him and to love others. This is how I love.

“So what are you? Are you Jewish? Catholic?”, he asks.

“Oh no, I’m just a Christian.”

He gave me a look.

With ASL, looks are apart of the language but I couldn’t read what his look meant. He tapped on his wife’s shoulder and told her, “She’s a Christian.”

“Oh”, is all she said.

He looked back at me, “I’m just curious…”

I started to panic. What was about to happen? Am I going to hear how stupid I am? Or have to explain why God allows such evil things in the world? Or have to listen to him rattle off a bunch of untruths about who he think God is and not really be able to say anything about it because, well, I’m working and this could really make things awkward.

“Why would you sacrifice your life and the things you want to do, to do the things God wants you to do, instead?”

Well, didn’t see that coming.

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. – 1 Peter 3:15

This was it. This was my moment.

Will I be faithful? Will I be obedient? Will I have an answer that makes sense?

I’m debating if I want to tell you what I said.

The only reason is because we are all told that we need to be able to explain why we do, what we do.

This isn’t a cookie cutter answer. It’s from your heart.

Do YOU sacrifice your will, for the will of God’s? Do YOU know why?

Is it your choice, or are you doing it because you are told to by a parent or a spouse? Your answer should be personal. It should be real.

I gave my answer, and waited to see how it would stick.

Would he have more questions? Would he tell me I’m an idiot? Was he only making small talk, or did he really care?

Almost immediately, his wife was called to a window. I got up to follow her.

Once we returned to our seats, he told me,

“While you were gone, I prayed for. What you are doing is really great. God bless you.”

Now around Christians, you may hear “God bless you”, a thousand times, but coming from this one man, it really meant something to me. I felt like he really meant it.

And you know what? He does!

God blesses me.

He sacrificed his son’s life for me.

There was a time when I was a broken single mom of four. I had nothing, and I felt like nothing. But through the works of God’s people, he picked me up and made me new.

He gave me life.

A blessed life.

That is why.

That is why I do what I do.

This Thorn

I hate talking about the thorn in my side. It’s so embarrassing. I’m sure nobody cares and certainly nobody wants to hear about it.

But as I write, if I still have your attention, try to imagine my thorn as your own thorn, because honestly, we all have one.

You know that thing that brings us to our knees. That thing we struggle with everyday. That thing that leaves us crying out to God, “Take this from me!” And yet, we feel falls on deaf ears.

Mine happens to be my weight.

I have struggled with my body image all my life. I say body image because I always thought I was fat even when I wasn’t.

I few years ago I dropped 60lbs. More than I ever have in my whole life at one time. My clothes got a lot smaller, I took up less room I noticed on my chair, and then there was everyone telling me how great I looked.

Really? When I stood in front of my bathroom mirror every morning as I was about to get into the shower, I didn’t see a difference.

I watched the number on the scale drop slowly every week. It took me a year and a half. Certainly wasn’t over night, that’s for sure.

But I felt nothing. And the mirror told me nothing.

As soon as I hit the number I arbitrarily chose I started to gain the weight back. It was easy, because again, I didn’t see any difference except what was on the scale.

So I let it go. Pound by pound until, guess what? I’m right back to where I started. More some, even.

IT’S INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING!

It’s frustrating because I’ve done this before. This always happens. And now I have come across information that explains it and it all just seems so hopeless.

So much so that I’m ashamed to tell you this…

But I had given up.

I stopped caring. I stopped fighting. I started enjoying. I started binging. I started to get worse.

GOD, WHERE ARE YOU? WHY DO I STILL STRUGGLE WITH THIS? WHY WON’T YOU TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME?

And then, this morning I got smacked. I got God smacked.

I have a friend who is living with cancer. I have another who is living with PTSD. My step mom is laying in a hospital bed after receiving a pacemaker, just yesterday.

Are they allowed to give up?

Is it ok for them to stop fighting?

No, it’s not.

Then it’s not ok for me either.

So it leads me back to where I started. Even farther.

But I have to start, again. I have to start fighting, again. I have to start caring. I have to start leaning more on God, again.

Because it’s the thorn that brings me to my knees. It’s what I struggle with, everyday. It’s what makes me cry out to God.

Because if it didn’t, why would I ever?

God may never have any desire to take this from me. But he will continue to walk with me through it. Carrying me at times even.

Like now.

I know that he is here. So I know it’s a good place to be. It’s my journey. It’s my thorn.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Let’s Go Cubbies!

I’m from Illinois, but I’m not a Bears fan, or a Bulls fan, or a White Sox fan, or even a Cubs fan; but my brother is.

Regardless of the fact he’s lived in Arizona since he was four, he’s a diehard Cubbie.

I’m talking about for as long as I can remember, my little brother has sported around a Cubs’ hat, or jersey.

He’s gone to every Spring Training game since he’s had a job and could afford to take the day off.

He’s flown to Chicago, not to visit family, but just to see a game.

His children have probably all worn the same Chicago Cubs’ onesie.

Ex-girlfriend and ex- wife call to congratulate him on the Cubs success this year.

Yes, to know my brother, is to know he loves his Cubs. He’s not one who has suddenly come out of the woodwork like some long lost relative who’s heard you won the lottery.

He’s the real deal.

I told him recently, I’ve been watching the series. I started thinking maybe they had chance until the fourth game and their third loss. I went into the fifth game thinking they didn’t have a shot, but after a couple of runs I quickly got my hopes up.

He chuckled at me, “Oh, don’t do that, Kim. You never want to get your hopes up.”

He’s so funny. He has no faith in his team but he’s loyal to them just the same.

I guess after years and years of getting so close, but never close enough, can take a toll on you. A bit of a rollercoaster ride I guess you could say. Or maybe they’re just predictable. He know they won’t make it far. They don’t disappoint.

I’d like to say he is a believer of Christ, like he’s a fan of the Cubs. I think the ride is probably about the same. A bit of a rollercoaster.

Some days God shows up on time and saves the day, and sometimes he doesn’t.

Sometimes you’re left hurt and confused wondering what just happened. Did he even show up?

Sometimes it feels like you’ve hit it out of the park and sometimes you’re just walking around the bases.

It’s interesting though, whether I watch the Cubs play or not, they still do…

every year…

every year in Chicago since 1876…

even though they have only won two World Series titles; 1907 and 1908.

That’s a long time to be playing and not be winning.

It’s interesting because after all these years of letting their fans down, they’re still here. They still play.

So this leads me to believe my brother is capable of believing in something he doesn’t have hope in.

Whether the Cubs win tonight or not, he will still be a fan tomorrow.

I know this, because they’ve never even been in the World Series during his entire lifetime, and yet…he still watches them. He still roots for them. He still believes in them.

My prayer is one day God will show up in his life’s World Series and it will be a perfect game. No hitters. No batters walk.

He’ll be called out of the bull pin and my brother will see he’s got heat. He’ll see even though he doesn’t know what pitch he’s got up his sleeve, it’s going to be over the plate. God delivers. You can trust him. Dare I say he’s predictable?

And one day my brother can have hope in something he believes in,

year after year, after year, after year…

Yeah, that’s my prayer. That would be pretty cool. Cuz, you know, I’ve been a fan of my brother for a lot of years. His entire lifetime.

I can’t wait to watch that series too.

Growing Beyond Lazy

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? – Matthew 25:26

I know, me personally, when it comes to following Jesus I get lazy. I don’t want to wander too far outside of my comfort zone.

However, when I have taken steps to move in that direction, I have been very happy with my results.

Every time I push myself, in the name of Jesus, I have never been let down. It encourages me to go again, and again, farther and farther, this time.

However, when it comes to my fitness routine, I find myself not only being lazy, but never exerting myself beyond what I think I can do. I work until gets hard. I work until it hurts. I work until I do what I set out to do, but not one more step beyond that.

I know my body can do more than what I push it to do. Just like I know I could do more for Jesus than I do. He not only calls me, he enables me too. Do I always do it? Nope. Because I get lazy.

I find when it comes to parenting, I am also just as lazy. I expect from my kids, what they have shown me they can do, or should I say what they are willing to do. But they whine and complain and it’s “easier” not to listen to them than to step up as a parent and ignore their excuses and demand their best. Well, because that would require more work on my half too.

But like me, I know they can do so much more.

So how do we teach our children to push on, to overcome, to not give up, to expect more?

I should expect more from them for starters. That would be a good start.

What if we pushed them beyond what they think they are capable of doing?

Would that not build their confidence as my stepping out in faith has built mine?

I want them to one day to be able to push themselves when there is no one else doing it for them.

I want them to continue on, when everyone else says they can’t.

And I want them to work to their potential; not to their comfort level.

I have a bunch of lazy kids. Kids who, like me, look for comfort. But growth doesn’t come from comfort.

It is through the pushing and the stretching and the going beyond what you thought you ever could.

It’s living through the pain and seeing you can still survive.

That’s what I want to teach my kids. That’s what I want to teach me.

My Daughter’s Holey Heart

I’ve never kept from her the relationship I had with her dad.

When she asks me questions, I’ve always answered her as honestly as I could and I’ve never told her I didn’t want to talk about it.

Mike came into our lives when she was two. She’s always known he wasn’t her real dad.

She was so jealous of Smart and would ask Mike if she could call him dad too. We always told her no.

That is until we got married. She was five then.

Oh, she was so stinkin’ excited to celebrate that first Father’s Day with him!

I was surprised how much it meant to her.

Years ago, my mom had made me a scrapbook of the kids. Oh my gosh, they were so little.

But imagine my surprise when I flipped a page to see a picture of me and Butterfly’s dad, together.

Then imagine what it was like to have my daughter sitting next to me, asking who he was.

She’s asked to see that scrapbook several times over the years. I know why she wants to look at it. Sometimes I get it down for her. Sometimes I don’t.

Today was one of those days. It was funny, she ran into my closet and pulled it from my top shelf before I could even get in there.

I didn’t realized she had become tall enough to grab it without a chair, and because she knew exactly where it was, and I didn’t, made me think she’s gotten it down herself before.

She entertained me by starting at the beginning and pointing out each of her brother’s as she turned the page.

She finally turned to the page that held the only picture I have of him.

I don’t even remember the questions she asked, but suddenly I found myself telling her he’s in prison.

She was shocked to have learned I had googled him.

“You can do that?”

Yes, you can, and I found him.

Even after all these years, I still fear him showing up in our lives.

He was a master manipulator, and at one time in my life had taken everything I had.

I wanted to know where he’s at.

My fear was he would take her one day too. Not necessarily, physically, but definitely emotionally. My fear is one day, when she’s 25 he will walk into her life and take her for everything she has, with guilt and shame to the point where she feels trapped, just like I did.

Immediately she had wanted to know what he had done, was he in Arizona, and finally…

Can she see him?

Ahh…

Hadn’t quite planned on that.

My daughter asked me if I thought it was weird that she wanted to know about her dad.

I told her I didn’t.

But I didn’t understand why she wanted to see him.

“Honey, you have tons of people who love you. People, who never would have been in our lives if we hadn’t gotten away from him. Our lives would be so different. Why would you want to see him?”

Tears welled up in her eyes, as she told me with a seriousness I was not accustomed to hearing from my ten year old,

I know I have lots of people who love me. But I NEED this one to love me. He doesn’t even know me.

Well there it was.

A need I can’t fill. A need he won’t be able to fill.

That desire for something more.

We all have it. It looks different with everyone. But we all carry that hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God. And yet, like everyone else, thinks it can be filled by something else.

In her case, it’s knowing her dad. If it wasn’t that, it might be if she was only thinner, or more outgoing, or if she had a boyfriend, or if she was married, or if she had children, or if she just had…

…then she’d be happy.

And so her journey is about to start.

I told her I didn’t know which prison he’s in. If he’s even in Arizona. I did tell her if something revealed itself, and that information became available, then I would take her to meet him.

But in order for that to happen, she needs to start learning about Boundaries, and what and who she is responsible for, and what she’s not.

If this is going to happen, I want her to be protected, and prepared. But honestly by showing her now; by teaching her about how God made her and what is hers and what is not, is the best defense I could give her not on only against her dad, but also against anyone else who tries to fill that hole for her.

So, I will choose not to pass my fear unto her, but will empower her by sharing my faith in the only one who can fill her soul.

Lord, I lift my daughter up to you. I understand that hole my daughter is feeling. I understand that feeling of something missing from her life. We are all born with that deep desire for more. Lord, I pray she searchers you more. I pray she studies how you’ve designed her and realizes how much love and value you’ve put into her and she is worth being protected. She is worth fighting for. So much so, that when other people or things try to fill that hole, she immediately recognizes they are not making her hole smaller, but actually making it bigger. Lord, you are the only thing that can satisfy our deepest desires and fill our holey heart. Equip me to help her know that too.

In your Son’s holy name, please protect us, AMEN.